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Making a Central Heating System Energy Efficient
April 17, 2012
As a major energy expense for your home, central heating is an area where you can make significant energy-saving changes. Heating with a central source can cost up to half, and in some cases, more than half of your energy bill during peak heating season. By making your central heating unit more energy efficient, you can save money and reduce your adverse affect on the environment.
Twice as many greenhouse gas emissions come from homes than from cars*. Power plants give off emissions when producing electricity for homes. That’s why we have to make a concerted effort to reduce our energy consumption in order to lessen every family’s impact on the environment.
Digital Programmable Thermostats Save Energy
The first step in making sure your central heating system is operating energy smart is to start with the thermostat. Lowering the temperature when you’re not home can save you as much as $180* a year off your energy bill. A digital programmable thermostat costs under $100, and the savings it can provide keep paying you back month after month.
Avoid “Hot Spots” with Radiator Thermometers
Next, a great way to avoid having to turn up the heat when one rooms in your home feels cold is to install radiator thermometers. If your home is heated with piping, then you can sometimes have a room that is closer to the boiler and thus warmer. The shorter the distance of pipe from the boiler, the warmer the room can feel. Conversely, rooms further away from a central heating system can feel cooler unless the household temperature is raised.
The way to combat radiator hotspots is to install radiator thermometers in every room. This way, you can accurately read the temperature and then restrict the flow to each radiator (using its own shutoff valve) in order to get a more even flow to all rooms. When one radiator demands less heat, the heat is then dispersed to other areas of the house. Keep in mind that inefficient heating systems such as a 20-year old furnace or boiler can operate as much as 35%** less energy-efficiently than a new high-efficiency unit.
Check Ducts for Air Leakage
If you have ductwork as opposed to piping, then you’ll want to check for leaky ducts. Inefficient ducts can cost you an extra 20% to 40% on your energy bill. Simply remove any insulation surrounding your ducts and check for holes or small air leaks (and replace the insulation when the task is completed). It’s one small energy-saving step that could save you hundreds of dollars.
Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Heating Systems
Homeowners can take advantage of the federal tax credit and upgrade to an energy-saving central heating system. The tax credit refunds 30% of the cost of the unit and installation, up to a maximum of $1,500*. This energy-efficient tax credit covers various types of heating systems, including heat pumps and furnaces.
Hire a RESNET Qualified ENERGYSMART Contractor to Ensure Savings
Whatever your preferred type of central heating system, we strongly recommend you consult a local HVAC technician for regular system tune-ups. Improperly installed central heating/cooling systems can run as much as 30%* less efficiently, which increases your operating costs. Hire a RESNET Qualified ENERGYSMART Contractor, who has been specially trained in energy efficiency. Bringing in an Energy Auditor to assess the energy efficiency of your entire home is also strongly recommended.
*Figures sourced from www.energystar.gov
**Figures sourced from www.costhelper.com
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